Big Sky Outdoor Champions To Be Crowned This Weekend
By SUU Strategic Communication
CEDAR CITY, Utah - The 2017 Big Sky Outdoor Track & Field Championships will run from Wednesday to Saturday this week, with outdoor multi-events being held on Wednesday and Thursday and the majority of competition being held on Friday and Saturday. The meet will be hosted by the Sacramento State Hornets and ran at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California.
Last Time Out
In the final competition before the start of Championship Season the Thunderbirds sent Mike Tate and Kasey Knevelbaard to the Payton Jordan Invitational to compete against some of the best athletes in the NCAA and the nation.
Tate finished the 5,000-meter with a time of 13:34.28, which was seventh overall at the meet and the third best collegiate time behind two of the best distance runners in the nation. He was awarded with the title of Big Sky Men's Track Athlete of the Week following the meet.
The time was not only a personal best for Tate, but the third-fastest time in the history of the Big Sky Conference. In conference history he now ranks behind only Olympians Diego Estrada and David McNeil of Northern Arizona. He also ranks third in the entire NCAA in the event.
Knevelbaard finished fourth in his heat of the 1,500-meter, with a time of 3:46.24. That time is just about five seconds off of his personal best, which also happens to be the school record.
Words From Coach Houle
On Tate's performance at the Payton Jordan Invitational . . .
“I've always had confidence in him because I've been with him for so long,” he said. “I know how he races, I know that he's a competitor, so what I needed to do is to make sure he's in those races to continue that emotional growth.”
On the keys to success at this point of the season on the men's side . . .
“At this point, the athletes that are still healthy and still have their heads in it, they're the ones that go in and put up a good fight,” he said. “That's what I'm expecting, that we'll go there and put up a good fight.”
On the growth the of the women's team . . .
“With this many teams in the conference and only eight spots scored you can have your best team ever, and the end result won't be a clear measurement of how good they are,” he said. “This is as good a team as we've had, it's just that there's 12 teams. I know that they're going to go in and battle, and that's all I can ask. I have confidence in my coaching, I have confidence in my other coaches' coaching, and I know we're going to develop them. It's just a matter of time before it happens.
Recent Big Sky History
On the men's side the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona have outright claimed four of the last five Big Sky Conference Championships outdoors, and tied with Sacramento State for the fifth in 2015. They will come in with the momentum of not only claiming the Big Sky Indoor title, but sealing the NCAA National Championship as a team during cross country season.
NAU has also claimed two of the last three outdoor titles on the women's side, and will be riding an indoor championship title into Sacramento as well. However, seven of the last nine Big Sky titles on the women's side were claimed by the host team, Sacramento State.
2017 Big Sky Outdoor Leaders
Event - Current Place in Big Sky: Name (Time) * Top 10 Included
Men's 100m - No. 5: Tre James (10.55)
Men's 400m - No. 2: Justin Lewis (47.34)
Men's 800m - No. 2: Kasey Knevelbaard (1:50.03)
Men's 1,500m - No. 1: Kasey Knevelbaard (3:41.76), No. 3: Mike Tate (3:44.09)
Men's 5,000m - No. 1: Mike Tate (13:34.28), No. 3: Kasey Knevelbaard (13:50.08), No. 6: Matt Wright (14:09.44), No. 8: Josh Collins (14:12.86)
Men's 10,000m - No. 3: Matt Wright (29:27.91)
Men's 110m Hurdles - No. 4: Devon Montgomery (14.45)
Men's 400m Hurdles - No. 4: Devon Montgomery (52.98)
Men's 3,000m Steeplechase - No. 8: Michael Finch (9:20.85)
Men's 4x100m Relay - No. 6: SUU (41.22)
Men's 4x400m Relay - No. 2: SUU (3:13.99)
Men's Shot Put - No. 9: Jayson Kovar (53' 6 ½'')
Men's Discus - No. 1: Jayson Kovar (189' 4'')
Men's Javelin - No. 2: Jeff Rowley (210''), No. 5: Skyler Porcaro (197' 3'')
Women's 200m - No. 9: Mia Russell (24.98), No. 10: Peyton Green (25.08)
Women's 400m - No. 5: Linnea Saltz (55.56), No. 10: Peyton Green (56.33)
Women's 5,000m - No. 10: Josie Riggs (17:03.24)
Women's 10,000m - No. 7: Ashley Tyndall (35:41.29)
Women's 400m Hurdles - No. 9: Carly Dalton (1:02.32)
Women's 4x100m Relay - No. 6: SUU (46.99)
Women's 4x400m Relay - No. 5: SUU (3:48.12)
2017 Outdoor Athletes of the Week
April 3, 2017: Mike Tate (Men's Track Athlete of the Week)
April 17, 2017: Kasey Knevelbaard (Men's Track Athlete of the Week)
May 1, 2017: Jayson Kovar (Men's Field Athlete of the Week)
May 8, 2017: Mike Tate (Men's Track Athlete of the Week)
Men's Team: NCAA Mountain Region - No. 13
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